The student news site for Moorpark College.

Student Voice

Moorpark College’s cafeteria plans show promise

Mandy+Deitelbaum%2C+17%2C+film+major%2C+purchases+an+item+from+the+vending+machine.+Since+2012%2C+food+options+at+Moorpark+College+have+been+limited.+Photo+credit%3A+Danny+Corrigan
Mandy Deitelbaum, 17, film major, purchases an item from the vending machine. Since 2012, food options at Moorpark College have been limited. Photo credit: Danny Corrigan

Mandy Deitelbaum, 17, film major, purchases an item from the vending machine. Since 2012, food options at Moorpark College have been limited. Photo credit: Danny Corrigan

Mandy Deitelbaum, 17, film major, purchases an item from the vending machine. Since 2012, food options at Moorpark College have been limited. Photo credit: Danny Corrigan

Danny Corrigan

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In as soon as 18 months, Moorpark College could have a cafeteria with hot food service. The planned renovations will bring in at least one food service contractor and revamp the west side of the Campus Center. This project will make a great difference in students’ lives by providing them ease of access to more nutritious meals and snacks that are not currently available.

“We don’t want our students to have to go off campus to eat,” said Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez. “It actually promotes student success because they’ll hang out in a dining room where there’s hot food service or you can get a hot coffee and study with your friends.”

A successful cafeteria is just what Moorpark College needs to help students flourish. The roughly $10 million plan will use funding from student fees and a capital projects account to expand the kitchen center and replace the vending machines with human-operated food counters where students will have a choice of hot and healthy food, according to President Sanchez. Sanchez also hopes to recondition the outside patio into a beautiful, usable seating area.

“It’s one of the most beautiful settings on our campus,” said Sanchez. “It’s got the best vistas of the western sunset, but very few people use it because it’s just ugly and neglected.”

The cafeteria was shut down in 2012, due to financial woes. Philip Abramoff, the Faculty Co-Chair of the Facilities Committee at the time that the food services were removed, remembers it vividly.

“It used to be an in-house run food service with our own employees and some student workers,” said Abramoff. “The main part of it was hot sandwiches, fries, and vegetables. You would pick up what you wanted and then go through a line at the end and pay the two or three cashiers they had at the front and go out into the cafeteria area.

“It was yearly losing about $300,000 per year in terms of having to pay the staff and not recovering the revenue,” said Abramoff.

Darren Jackson, an Engineering major, began attending Moorpark College during the cafeteria’s last semester.

“If I remember correctly, [it was] just a sandwich deli bar like Subway or Jersey Mikes, just not as good,” said Jackson. “It lacked options and variety.”

Many are hopeful that the cafeteria will be successful this time around, but one could wonder what differences could revive such a budgetary burden and make it prosper. The answer: a little outside help.

According to President Sanchez, the cafeteria will be operated by either a major contractor that specializes in food service or multiple operators in a food court approach. The arrangement will be similar to that with the food trucks: the operators will either pay rent or a percentage of their revenue in exchange for the ability to operate on campus. The college will decide on one or multiple contractors based on who submits bids and what would be best for students and employees.

“Financial terms will be one of the variables, but the other one is going to be a more subjective judgement about what offers the best choices for our students and employees and what I mean by that are economical prices and healthiness and varieties of the foods offered,” said Sanchez.

With either one or multiple vendors, the new cafeteria model has a much stronger potential for success. Whereas before, the college was obligated to keep artificially low prices to please students, the contracted company or companies can sell goods at a market price, to not only not incur a loss, but to make a profit. However, private enterprises also have an incentive to keep prices low and operate efficiently in order to stay in business. These incentives, combined with the know-how of a well-established vendor, ensure a more efficient and productive business model than the college could ever provide. President Sanchez recognizes the college’s strengths and weaknesses and knows when to hand off a task to a more qualified institution.

“We’re best at doing the things that we are chartered to do: teaching and advising students,” said Sanchez. “There are other people that understand the food business better than we do.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*